По-русски

​APEX: “GES-2 is not a museum but a progressive center that is meant to bring us back to the ideas of romantic futurism”

The architects of the Moscow-based company speak about the progress of the GES-2 reconstruction project by Renzo Piano.

Interviewed by:
Xenia Ossipova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

17 May 2018
Interview
mainImg

Archi.ru:
– At what stage is the work on the GES-2 project?

Ekaterina Valkova,
the head of the workgroup:
– The construction is underway: work is going on aimed at strengthening the existing structures; the underground part underneath the main building is being built, as well as the parking lot and the mechanical rooms.

– And what else is going to be there?

– The museum will have a vault for storing the exhibits, a lecture hall, classrooms, a restaurant, and workshops for artists. As opposed to the original concept, currently a few options are being considered – specifically, an option to make the exposition penetrate into the underground parking garage in such a way that one of its floors would become a part of the public program of the complex. This will be a multifunctional space but some of the specific details are still being discussed. All the premises, including the mechanical rooms, meet the rigorous standards of a high-quality space. This is the attitude of V-A-C foundation and Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

View of the complex from the Bolotnaya Embankment. Photo courtesy by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)
The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant. Photo courtesy by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)


Aligned plan of the first floor. The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant © Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)


The diagram of dismantled and preserved elements of the building © APEX project bureau


– How is your collaboration with RPBW organized?

– We are working in close cooperation with Renzo Piano in one and the same BIM model. All of the working documents that go to the construction site are developed together, the architects of RPBW inspecting every unit and regularly coming to the construction site; one of the representatives of the firm is permanently in Moscow – he performs the author supervision together with us. Each and every detail is given meticulous attention; we control everything down to the last screw.

It’s very important to realize that our collaboration is not just about a regular exchange of drafts or a series of workshops – it is an ongoing process that is taking place in a real-time mode in a BIM model format. Technically, this is not a piece of cake but it ultimately allows us to be in the loop of what’s going on in the course of the entire implementation of the project. This is a unique precedent for our country – such a close cooperation with foreign partners, down to the fact of synched work in a BIM model.

The east facade. The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant © Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) & APEX project bureau


The north facade. The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant © Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) & APEX project bureau


The south facade. The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant © Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) & APEX project bureau


The west facade. The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant © Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) & APEX project bureau


– We have already touched upon the changes that were made to the original proposal on the underground level. What else changed in the project that was shown to the public in 2015?

– The original concept did not undergo any major revisions, we only added new functions – an opportunity to organize concerts, use the venues for various performances, and many other new scenarios for using the museum space. We added art studios where young artists can work with different materials, such as metal, wood, ceramics, and fabrics. And the people who will be taking a stroll around GES-2 will be able to watch them work. For the same reason, we also added a bakery – as a means to involve the passers-by into the interactive process.

– The project originally provided for developing the surrounding area that constituted a significant part of the island. What specifically are you planning to do?

– In front of the main building, there will be a square, a piazza, which will be linked to the waterfront: it smoothly flows into GES-2 through high windows. The main façade will have high doors on it, which will open in the summertime, and some of the functions will “spill over” outside the building, creating the transparency effect, characteristic of the Renzo Piano projects. We will also have here what can be described as “indoor square”, a lobby, and a gallery that will “drag in” whatever will be going on outside. On the other side of the façade we have a garden and a birch tree coppice. Through the stained glass doors on the north façade one will be able to exit into the garden, which goes on to support the idea of a transparent space.

The V-A-C foundation Center of Modern Culture in the former GES-2 power plant © Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) & APEX project bureau




– From the north, as I understand, the façade is only partially preserved?

– From the surviving historical photos, we see that the original interior was to be transparent, with plenty of air in it. This is a very beautiful space. Currently, the building is cleared of all the layers of later additions, inner partitions and outside annexes. The project is meant to bring out the best of this building. The stained glass windows will be replaced by the overall spirit of the industrial façade will still be there. The whole project is extremely respectful of the historical heritage that this building presents.

– A number of environmental components are also planned…

– Yes, in the upper part of the new chimneys, there will be installed wind turbines, and there is an interesting metaphor having to do with these chimneys. Because what do industrial chimneys do? They pollute the air! And we are turning this frown upside down: our chimneys will take in the air for general ventilation of the building. Meaning – we are going to collect clean air at a height of 70 meters and route it into the building. And, instead of polluting the air, we are thinking about how to clear it.

There will also be photovoltaic elements installed on the roof of the building, while the rainwater will be used to water the garden.

– And just what percentage of the needs of GES-2 will be covered by the “green” power sources? 

– Generally speaking, these sources help to save quite a lot of resources. Our system of watering the birch tree coppice works not at the expense of the city’s running water but on the “gray” water reservoir – in our instance, this is purified rainwater. The photovoltaic cells and the wind turbines put out about 6% of the total amount of power consumed by the building.

– It’s still a lot by Russian standards, considering how rarely such “green” technologies are used.

– We need to be moving in that direction and create the precedent of using the “green” power and then popularize it. It’s common knowledge that our country is rich in resources – electricity will always be less expensive here than somewhere in Scandinavia, for example – and that the costs of installing the photovoltaic cells was far greater than the cost of the regular power consumption would be. But this project is “about the future”, about how we should be developing – it is not even a museum but rather some visionary center. A good deal of work is done on attracting specialists who could predict our development, not just chase what’s currently going on.

For example, this week we had a meeting with the professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was invited by V-A-C foundation as a consultant for GES-2 in the field of multimedia equipment.

– With a view to give the artists new means of expression?

– Yes, new means of expression, as well as new technical and technological possibilities to share what they’ve got with the world. Who could have thought but a decade ago (when the Internet and social media websites were already a part of our life) just how popular would Instagram be and how it would influence the lives of people? GES-2 is posing before the project team the task of imagining what's going to come next, what’s going to be the next big thing. Among other things, this project is about romantic futurism. The idea is applicable to all the aspects of culture, and there is more to it than just looking at pictures or listening to music. Handicraft is also a part of culture. For this reason, we will have a цех металлообработки here, where the boys will learn hammer-work, casting, and so on. The art of deejaying, graffiti, and video is also culture. And GES-2 will be the perfect example of such interdisciplinary alloy.

17 May 2018

Interviewed by:

Xenia Ossipova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
comments powered by HyperComments
Headlines now
Man and the City
Designing this large-scale housing complex, GAFA architects accentuated two types of public spaces: bustling streets with shops and cafes – and a totally natural yard, visually separated as much as possible from the city. Making the most out of the contrast, both work together to make the life of the residents of EVER housing complex eventful and diverse.
​Andy Snow: “I aim for an architecture which is rational and poetic”
The British architect Andy Snow has recently become the chief architect at GENPRO Architects & Engineers. Projects, which Andy Snow did in the UK in collaboration with world-famous architectural firms, scored numerous international awards. In Russia, the architect took part in designing Moscow’s Stanislavsky Factory business center, iLove housing complex, and AFI2B business center on the 2nd Brestskaya Street. In our interview, Andy Snow compared the construction realities in Russia and the UK, and also shared his vision of architectural prospects in Russia.
​The Living Growth
The grand-scale housing complex AFI PARK Vorontsovsky in Moscow’s southwest consists of four towers, a “slab” house, and a kindergarten building. Interestingly, the plastique of the residential buildings is quite active – they seem to be growing before your eyes, responding to the natural context, and first of all opening the views of the nearby park. As for the kindergarten building, it is cute and lyrical, like a little sugar house.
Sergey Skuratov: “A skyscraper is a balance of technology, economic performance, and aesthetic...
In March, two buildings of the Capital Towers complex were built up to a 300-meter elevation mark. In this issue, we are speaking to the creator of Moscow’s cutting-edge skyscrapers: about heights and proportions, technologies and economics, laconicism and beauty of superslim houses, and about the boldest architectural proposal of recent years – the Le Corbusier Tower above the Tsentrosoyuz building.
​The Red Building
The area of Novoslobodskaya has received Maison Rouge – an apartment complex designed by ADM, which continues the wave of renovation, started by the Atmosphere business center, from the side of the Palikha Street.
​The Uplifting Effect
The project of Ostankino Business Park was developed for the land site lying between two metro stations (one operating and the other in construction), and because of that its public space is designed to equally cater for the city people and the office workers. The complex stands every chance of becoming the catalyst for development of the Butyrsky area.
​Binary Opposition
In this article, we are examining a rather rare and interesting case – two projects by Evgeny Gerasimov situated on one street and completed with a five years’ difference, presenting the perfect example of example for analyzing the overall trends and approaches practiced by the architectural company.
Raising the Yard
The housing complex Renome consists of two buildings: a modern stone house and a red-brick factory building of the end of the XIX century, reconstructed by measurements and original drafts. The two buildings are connected by an “inclined” yard – a rare, by Moscow standards, version of geoplastics that smoothly ascends to the roof of the stores lined up along a pedestrian street.
​Hearing the Tune of the Past
The Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist in the park near the Novodevichy Convent was conceived in 2012 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. However, instead of declamatory grandeur and “fanfare”, the architect Ilia Utkin presented a concentrated and prayerful mood, combined with a respectful attitude of this tent-shaped church, which also includes some elements of architecture of orders. The basement floor hosts a museum of excavations found on the site of the church.
​Semantic Shift
The high-end residential complex STORY, situated near the Avtozavodskaya metro station and the former ZIL factory, is delicately inscribed in the contrastive context, while its shape, which combines a regular grid and a stunning “shift” of the main facade, seems to respond to the dramatic history of the place, at the same time, however, allowing for multiple interpretations.
​Yards and Towers: the Samara Experiment
The project of “Samara Arena Park”, proposed by Sergey Skuratov, scored second place in the competition. The project is essentially based on experimenting with typology of residential buildings and gallery/corridor-type city blocks combined with towers – as well as on sensitive response to the context and the urge to turn the complex into a full-fledged urban space providing a wide range of functions and experiences.
​The Fili Duo
The second phase of the Filicity housing complex, designed by ADM architects, is based on the contrast between a 57-story skyscraper 200 meters high and an 11-story brick house. The high-rise building sets a futuristic vector in Moscow housing architecture.
​The Wall and the Tower
The OSA architects have been searching for solutions that could be opposed to the low-rise construction in the center of Khabarovsk, as well as an opportunity to say a new word in the discourse about mass housing.
​The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
​Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
​Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
Agility of the Modular
In the Discovery housing complex that they designed, ADM architects proposed a modern version of structuralism: the form is based on modular cells, which, smoothly protruding and deepening, make the volumes display a kind of restrained flexibility, differentiated element by element. The lamellar and ledged facades are “stitched” with golden threads – they unite the volumes, emphasizing the textured character of the architectural solution.
Polyphony of a Strict Style
The “ID Moskovskiy” housing project on St. Petersburg’s Moscow Avenue was designed by the team of Stepan Liphart in the past 2020. The ensemble of two buildings, joined by a colonnade, is executed in a generalized neoclassical style with elements of Art Deco.
​In Three Voices
The high-rise – 41 stories high – housing complex HIDE is being built on the bank of the Setun River, near the Poklonnaya Mountain. It consists of three towers of equal height, yet interpreted in three different ways. One of the towers, the most conspicuous one looks as if it was twisted in a spiral, composed of a multitude of golden bay windows.
​In the Space of Pobedy Park
In the project of a housing complex designed by Sergey Skuratov, which is now being built near the park of the Poklonnaya Hill, a multifunctional stylobate is turned into a compound city space with intriguing “access” slopes that also take on the role of mini-plazas. The architecture of the residential buildings responds to the proximity of the Pobedy Park, on the one hand, “dissolving in the air”, and, on the other hand, supporting the memorial complex rhythmically and color-wise.
​Dynamics of the Avenue
On Leningrad Avenue, not far away from the Sokol metro station, the construction of the A-Class business center Alcon II has been completed. ADM architects designed the main façade as three volumetric ribbons, as if the busy traffic of the avenue “shook” the matter sending large waves through it.
​Steamer at the Pier
An apartment hotel that looks like a ship with wide decks has been designed for a land plot on a lake shore in Moscow’s South Tushino. This “steamer” house, overlooking the lake and the river port, does indeed look as if it were ready to sail away.
The Magic of Rhythm or Ornament as a Theme
Designed by Sergey Tchoban, the housing complex Veren Place in St. Petersburg is the perfect example of inserting a new building into a historical city, and one the cases of implementing the strategy that the architect presented a few years ago in the book, which he coauthored with Vladimir Sedov, called “30:70. Architecture as a Balance of Forces”.
​Walking on Water
In the nearest future, the Marc Chagall Embankment will be turned into Moscow’s largest riverside park with green promenades, cycling and jogging trails, a spa center on water, a water garden, and sculptural pavilions designed in the spirit of the Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920, and, first of all, Chagall himself. In this issue, we are covering the second-stage project.
​Architectural Laboratory
A-Len has developed and patented the “Perfect Apartments” program, which totally eliminates “bad” apartment layouts. In this article, we are sharing how this program came around, what it is about, who can benefit from it, and how.
​“Architectural Archaeology of the Narkomfin Building”: the Recap
One of the most important events of 2020 has been the completion of the long-awaited restoration of the monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture – the Narkomfin Building, the progenitor of the typology of social housing in this country. The house retained its residential function as the main one, alongside with a number of artifacts and restoration clearances turned into living museum exhibits.
​LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.